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Lexus' HS250h hybrid sedan is having trouble meeting sales targets, due to the strength of the Prius as well as demand for the HS250h in Japan. Lexus is on track to sell about 14,000 HS250h hybrids this year, well below the projections of 20-22,000. So far just 4529 HS250h's have been sold.

In an interview with Ward's, a Lexus executive cited increased demand in Japan for the re-forecasting of sales numbers. "Right now, there's so much demand for that product in Japan…maybe 20,000-22,000 might be more realistic," said Mark Templin, Lexus Div. group vice president and general manager-Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. Templin also said that the company "underestimated the power of the Prius brand," citing the strength of Toyota's premiere hybrid.

While the HS250h seems like a slam dunk in light of the success of the Prius, the Toyota's distinctive shape has an eco-cachet that the Lexus' three-box design can't match. The typical Prius buyer (read: affluent) is also the same buyer that Lexus is going after, and you can bet that they will always gravitate towards the status symbol, especially the kind that the Prius represents.

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